Supportive treatment for shingles

I have shingles as a result of multiple stress factors just 3 months after finishing 10 weeks of radiotherapy. No big surprise really. It is on my mastectomised chest wall, my side and my back. I am being treated with megadoses orally of acyclovir as my lymphocyte count is close to zero so alternative anti-virals are contra-indicated. Background: The mastectomy was 11 years ago. The RT was to dorsal vertebrae, hip and lymph nodes in my chest from March to May this year.
I can apply fresh aloe vera to the rash, if that’s a good idea. I understand I need lysine-rich and argenine-poor foods (difficult as a vegan). I am taking B12 and echinacea.

Does anyone have any tips on how else to support recovery from Shingles, please?

I’m feeling well and have plenty of energy but have done a deal with myself to slow down and to do chi kung and meditation every day, at least while I’m taking acyclovir - might even get me back into the habit!

Should I stay out of the sun? I know that herpes (simplex) on the face is better protected from sunshine but don’t know about herpes zoster (varicella).

Also was expecting to meet a 2 month old great niece in a week’s time. I guess this is out if I still have a rash, though it would be covered by a couple of layer of my clothes and at least a layer of hers. Any thoughts? There’s no way I want to pose any risk to the child. I can hopefully meet her another time if not now.

Wishing you well,


Hi Jenny

I am sorry to hear you are suffering from shingles at the moment, can I suggest that you try our helpline, I am sure they will be able to advise on this subject and can offer support regarding your recovery.

The helpline number is 0808 800 6000 and is open Monday - Friday 9am - 5pm, Saturdays 9am - 2pm

Everyone on our helpline either has experience of breast cancer or is a breast care nurse and they are able to talk about both technical and emotional issues surrounding breast cancer and breast health.

I hope this information is of help.

Kind regards.

Breast Cancer Care

Many thanks, Moderator. I shall call them.

I called them up Katie and it was very reassuring that there’s not much to do now except rest more and wait for it to go away.

The treatment is working and all the things I mentioned in my first post, no doubt. The rash is drying up and disappearing as I write this. Still 3 more days on acyclovir. May use Aloe Vera gel (from fresh leaf) to heal and moisturise skin afterwards alternating with calendula ointment. Feeling fine except a little dizziness and slight nerve pain in the chest wall. Being lazy and thoroughly enjoying a few days rest.

Wishing you well,


Penultimate day of treatment - nerve pain passed, skin healing nicely responding o aloe vera alternated 4 hourly with calendula ointment. I’ll take all the tablets to see the last of the virus off.

Hope this experience helps anyone else with the same problem.
Apparently l-lysine available from healthfood shops is a good herpes preventive - even recommended by vets to prevent cat flu (another herpes virus) in kittens! I’ve just added an organic egg to my otherwise vegan diet each day to get an extra heavy shot of lysine, but to-day’s my last egg day, thankfully. The combination seems to have worked and people I know who’ve had shingles are incredulous about how quickly it can pass. WIth no immune system to speak of to protect me, this cannot just be luck. The complementary effect of massive doses of acyclovir and the dietary and skin care have worked for me.
Wishing you well,